18th September 2014

Burdock will be the bane of dog-walkers lives at this time of year. Said to be the plant that inspired the inventor of Velcro, the burs will cling to any rough surface that brushes past it, including animals fur. Children have long had a habit of chucking the burs at each other, and in Lancashire children recall sticking loads of burs together into a ball to use as missiles in a game, or as balls to kick around! Burdock are biennials, with a rosette of big leaves appearing at ground level in the first year, (green on the top surface and white underneath and sometimes forming a rosette a metre across) and long stalks and flowers, followed by burs, in the second year. Best known for the drink ‘Dandelion and Burdock’ (recipes for this one the internet) made from the roots of both, Burdock is also for sale as a

Burdock in it's second year, with the purple flowers, and burs forming.

Burdock in it’s second year, with the purple flowers, and burs forming.

Burdock in autumn with it's 'velcro' burs formed.

Burdock in autumn with it’s ‘velcro’ burs formed.

herbal tea and root product, thanks to its anti-oxidant properties, including phenolic acids prescribed for liver and blood cleansing. The drink is immortalised in a line from an Arctic Monkeys song: “You’re rarer than a can of dandelion and burdock”.  Some think Fentiman’s is the most authentic commercial brand of the drink though sadly, despite the plants very common occurrence by roads and paths. river banks and fields, all makes sold are made from Burdock from overseas. In a very unusual old custom in Edinburgh, a Bur-Man wanders the streets, one day a year, completely clothed in Burdock burs! Conditions: The sun struggled to break through thick cloud all day. No rain or breeze again. Temperature: Max 20- Min 14C.

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